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Nine Stylish and Scenic Stops Along California's Central Coast

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Los Angeles is a considerable paradise for many, and—aside from the traffic—you won't find us complaining much about living in this city full sunshine, palm trees, endless shopping opportunities, and prime potential for juicy celeb sightings. That said, even devoted Angelenos need to get away from it all every now and again, and often that means opting for a location with a comparatively slowed-down place and a change of scenery different from the landscape within our own backyard. Luckily our Golden State has no shortage of such spots just a quick drive away.

Previously we've shown you our curated lists for staying and playing in Catalina, Ojai, and San Luis Obispo, and when we vacationed in the latter, we found a treasure trove of little stops along the 101 highway that were worthy of their own separate vacation, which is why we've created this map of decidedly dreamy destinations that—in our humble opinion—would make a quintessentially Californian road trip.

We explored the Central Coast stretch starting with a southern pit stop in chill Ventura and heading as north as wine-hub Paso Robles (omitting aforementioned SLO). Read on to find our highlights including a stylish surf shop, the modern motel where LA loves to get away, a place to score cool collectibles and vintage goods, and even one of the state's most breathtaking beaches.

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1. The Iron & Resin Garage

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324 E Main St
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 613-0737
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Make sleepy beach town Ventura your first pit stop, and besides grabbing a shrimp burrito and beer from quintessential spot Spencer Mackenzie's (you'll thank us) and cruising the wealth of thrift shops on Main Street (we added a crucial French Pop record to our vinyl collection for $1), hit up this surf/bike shop to score cool camping gear, western-style hats and boots, grooming gear, and more. [Photo]

2. Nojoqui Falls Park

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3190 S Alisal Rd
Goleta, CA 93117
One of the most scenic hikes in the area is also one of the shortest and simplest, which is cool for those of you who want to chill a little on their fitness routine during vacation. While this stunning waterfall is dryer than usual for the season, you'll still find a steady stream and plenty of rocks to sit on while (literally) soaking in all the natural beauty abound.

3. Los Olivos General Store

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The Central Coast has no shortage of general stores, but this one in adorable Los Olivos stocks jewels by LA's own Katie Dean Jewelry and Compartes Chocolates, as well as Seattle-based product line Herbivore Botanicals and curated culinary goodies. Plus there's an adjacent wine tasting room. Cheers!

4. Bob's Well Bread Bakery

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Most. Epic. Breakfast. Ever. Though Los Alamos is chock full of healthful, delicious places to dine, this bakery is a must-stop for dishes packed with locally grown produce, flaky pastries, and freshly baked bread—including a nutty gluten-free option.

5. Alamo Motel

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425 Bell St
Los Alamos, CA 93440
(805) 344-2852
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Like all Shelter Social Club hotels, this revamped, old-school motel is well-designed and affordable—the ideal place to stay for Angelenos looking for an easy and stylish getaway (the Instagramming opportunities are endless, btw). We suggest asking for a room with a clawfoot tub to feel like a queen, which is exactly how you should feel on vaycay.

6. Municipal Winemakers

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425 Bell St.
Los Alamos, CA
This tasting room is located conveniently on Alamos Motel's property, which means while staying there you can sample from Muni's signature Pale Pink and Bright White bottles while snuggling up with blankets or going for a swing (yep, there's a swing) on the lounge-worthy lawn—no designated driver needed.

7. Gussied Up Antiques

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There's epic antiquing throughout Los Alamos, but we were most enamored of this extensive shop where we perused weird 90's collectables, colored glass medicine bottles, beautiful wool blankets, and 1940's vintage handbags.

8. Morro Bay Beach

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What California vacation would be complete without a trip to the beach? Though this roadtrip is full of gorgeous spots to sunbathe, stroll through the sand, and watch the sunset, Morro Beach may be the most breathtaking in all of Central Coast. [Photo]

9. Inn Paradiso

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In addition to offering expertly designed interiors (can we just move in?), the inn offers organic breakfasts and a curated gift shop with vintage and locally-sourced goods, plus you're in close proximity to the many wineries in the vicinity and surrounded by wildlife. [Photo]

1. The Iron & Resin Garage

324 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001
Make sleepy beach town Ventura your first pit stop, and besides grabbing a shrimp burrito and beer from quintessential spot Spencer Mackenzie's (you'll thank us) and cruising the wealth of thrift shops on Main Street (we added a crucial French Pop record to our vinyl collection for $1), hit up this surf/bike shop to score cool camping gear, western-style hats and boots, grooming gear, and more. [Photo]
324 E Main St
Ventura, CA 93001

2. Nojoqui Falls Park

3190 S Alisal Rd, Goleta, CA 93117
One of the most scenic hikes in the area is also one of the shortest and simplest, which is cool for those of you who want to chill a little on their fitness routine during vacation. While this stunning waterfall is dryer than usual for the season, you'll still find a steady stream and plenty of rocks to sit on while (literally) soaking in all the natural beauty abound.
3190 S Alisal Rd
Goleta, CA 93117

3. Los Olivos General Store

Los Olivos, CA
The Central Coast has no shortage of general stores, but this one in adorable Los Olivos stocks jewels by LA's own Katie Dean Jewelry and Compartes Chocolates, as well as Seattle-based product line Herbivore Botanicals and curated culinary goodies. Plus there's an adjacent wine tasting room. Cheers!

4. Bob's Well Bread Bakery

Los Alamos, CA 93440
Most. Epic. Breakfast. Ever. Though Los Alamos is chock full of healthful, delicious places to dine, this bakery is a must-stop for dishes packed with locally grown produce, flaky pastries, and freshly baked bread—including a nutty gluten-free option.

5. Alamo Motel

425 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Like all Shelter Social Club hotels, this revamped, old-school motel is well-designed and affordable—the ideal place to stay for Angelenos looking for an easy and stylish getaway (the Instagramming opportunities are endless, btw). We suggest asking for a room with a clawfoot tub to feel like a queen, which is exactly how you should feel on vaycay.
425 Bell St
Los Alamos, CA 93440

6. Municipal Winemakers

425 Bell St., Los Alamos, CA
This tasting room is located conveniently on Alamos Motel's property, which means while staying there you can sample from Muni's signature Pale Pink and Bright White bottles while snuggling up with blankets or going for a swing (yep, there's a swing) on the lounge-worthy lawn—no designated driver needed.
425 Bell St.
Los Alamos, CA

7. Gussied Up Antiques

Los Alamos, CA 93440
There's epic antiquing throughout Los Alamos, but we were most enamored of this extensive shop where we perused weird 90's collectables, colored glass medicine bottles, beautiful wool blankets, and 1940's vintage handbags.

8. Morro Bay Beach

Morro Bay, CA 93442
What California vacation would be complete without a trip to the beach? Though this roadtrip is full of gorgeous spots to sunbathe, stroll through the sand, and watch the sunset, Morro Beach may be the most breathtaking in all of Central Coast. [Photo]

9. Inn Paradiso

Paso Robles, CA
In addition to offering expertly designed interiors (can we just move in?), the inn offers organic breakfasts and a curated gift shop with vintage and locally-sourced goods, plus you're in close proximity to the many wineries in the vicinity and surrounded by wildlife. [Photo]